The South of France is a place of discovery. My days in Aix-en-Provence as an Aixoise were spent walking around with my head in the Provençal blue sky and discovering the country I’ve came to call home.
Aix is a tiny town. So small in fact, that you could walk from one side of the town to the other in about 30 minutes. When people hear the words “small town,” many assume there isn’t much to do. As a university town, student life is huge and you can find groups of students everywhere doing anything. In general, all of Aix was my favorite place to be. I was totally happy either wandering alone or surrounded by my international friends. We would sit on the streets with a baguette and a bottle of wine and just have a great time! There were so many places where we could sit and enjoy the culture in this area! Instead of describing my favorites, keep reading to find out the favorite areas of both my friends, and the locals.
One popular spot traversed every day, is the Cours Mirabeau. This is the central street in Aix and it is magical (especially in December!). Year-round you can find open-air markets, festivals, even concerts on this street! At one end you are greeted by the statue of Roi René and at the other, La Rotonde, a grand fountain in the middle of a large round-a-bout. For international students, this fountain is a place of tradition. Before you leave, you have to jump in it! The thing is, you have to do it late at night. Why? Let’s just say…it’s more fun that way!
There are several cafés lining la Rotonde and one of my favorite things to do was to sit and read or, simply people-watch, for hours. The cafés would let you sit undisturbed, for hours! Amazing!
The picturesque streets within themselves are a favorite. With all of the little streets in centre ville, I cannot chose one favorite but, on or at the end of these small streets, you could almost always find a fountain. Aix is the city of fountains! I lost track of how many there are! One of my favorites is Les Quatres Dauphins. On hot days, my friends and I would sit with our feet in it just to cool off!
All places in Aix allow for discovery. Its’ simplicity allows for your mind to wander and you can find yourself discovering a few things about yourself that you didn’t know before. This is why Aix is one of my favorite places to be. Whether I was walking to class, hanging out at a bar, or splashing in a fountain, little Aix taught me that all it takes is to open your eyes and actually reflect on what is around you.